The BOE Report’s most read and by far most influential story of 2016 was written by none other than Terry Etam: Saudi oil filling a New Brunswick refinery – what kind of a domestic energy policy is that? – published on January 25th.
To date, the article was read 125,000 times and shared on social media over 50,000 times. It was, by far, Canada’s most shared business story that day.
The crux of the article and what undoubtedly struck a chord in so many readers, was Etam’s ability to articulate a glaring hypocrisy among Canada’s opponents to domestic pipeline development.
The hypocrisy? Their seemingly willful neglect a very basic fact: that without more domestic pipelines approved and constructed (Energy East for example), refineries on the East coast would simply continue to import foreign oil to fill the void that otherwise would’ve been filled by Canadian crude.
As Etam wrote, “Given that eastern Canada imports oil from abroad, it becomes obvious that Canada has a problem. One region of the country produces too much oil, while another imports it from distant and perhaps unreliable jurisdictions. The imbalance is bad news for Canada because locally produced oil is having trouble getting to market due to a lack of pipeline infrastructure, which hurts multiple stakeholders.”
The effect this article had on Canadian public discourse soon became evident. Not long after its publication, Canada’s mainstream media outlets like the National Post started echoing Terry’s sentiment. The Post’s Western Business Columnist, Claudia Cattaneo, wrote a piece that quoted and closely paralleled Terry’s critique. Danielle Smith, former leader of the Alberta’s Wildrose Party invited Terry onto her public radio show for a chat (an invitation he politely declined).
All told, the article helped reignite a national debate about the merits of domestic pipeline development. And since January 25th, at a time when pipeline development for a variety of Canadian projects was in serious limbo, Canadians have witnessed their federal government give approval to two key projects: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain, and Enbridge’s Line 3. But as to whether they actually will get built remains to be seen (that discussion is for another article).
What is still troubling is that despite Etam’s wholly persuasive argument for Energy East development, the pipeline project has been given the cold shoulder by Trudeau and his band of Merry Cabinet-ers.
Maybe the only thing supporters of Energy East can hope for now…is…another home-run article from Terry Etam that will alter Canadian public opinion so much in the pipeline’s favour that Trudeau will have no choice but to grant its approval (and Terry if you are reading this, please be rest assured sure I am in no way pressuring you).